Via the placement at A5c per share, Independence Group (ASX:IGO) will increase its shareholding in Orion to 11.1% from 4.2%, while also securing preferential rights to a joint venture or purchase of Orion's nickel projects in the belt, including the Jacomynspan nickel-copper-cobalt project.
It previously subscribed for a $.3 million share placement in Orion and the two companies entered into a JV agreement on the Fraser Range nickel-copper project in Western Australia.
Under the new share placement, the two companies will form a collaborative working relationship to enhance Orion's regional exploration programmes in the underexplored belt.
Orion will commit at least 30% of the $5 million placement - $1.5 million - towards its nickel-copper-cobalt exploration targets.
Under the agreement, if Orion wants to assign the all or part of its right, title or interest in any of its South African nickel projects in the belt to a third party, it must first offer the same to Independence on the same terms and conditions.
"Due to the lack of favourable environments worldwide, which have the potential to host major new nickel-copper-cobalt and VMS discoveries, Orion's large ground holdings in the Northern Cape of South Africa provides both Orion and Independence significant exposure to exploration success," Orion said.
It said through regional exploration it had already identified the potential for discovery of nickel hosting massive sulphide bodies in the belt similar to Independence's Nova Bollinger mine in Western Australia's Fraser Range.
Orion managing director and CEO Errol Smart said Independece's Nova Bollinger nickel and Jaguar zinc-copper mining operations in Western Australia had remarkable geological and engineering similarities to Orion's advanced stage projects in the Areachap Belt, with the companies' exploration models and methods also similar.
"Clearly, there are strong synergies between the companies and a meeting of minds between our technical teams," he said.